Saturday, January 23, 2010

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories: a story about goats!

Here's a sweet little wisdom story that I learned in late 2009. Share it with a friend...or a goat!

The Goat and the Rock
There was once, in Tibet, a milk seller. Each morning he would collect goat's milk from a couple of farms and then deliver it to families in two villages.

He would knock on the door; a milk pitcher and a few pennies were offered. He took the pennies and filled the pitcher from his large earthenware jug.

One morning as he made his way between the two villages, he paused to rest, setting his half full jug on a large rock.

A goatherd was coming along the path with six or seven goats trotting along in front of him. He called to his friend, the milk seller, who gave a cheery call back.

This calling startled the nanny goat in front, so she jumped off the path and knocked over the milk jug. It broke, spilling its contents into the dust.

"Look what your goat has done!" said the milk seller. "Now I can't deliver your milk."

"Don't you have another jug?" asked the goatherd.

"No. And I earn so little at this job, that I barely feed my family as it is. I think you owe me a new jug."

The goatherd said, "I don't have much either. I would have to sell a goat to buy you a jug, and then I would have less milk to sell. I can't do that."

The milk seller and the goatherd agreed to take this dispute to a local judge, who was known to be wise.

The judge listened to both men describe the events of the morning. Then she said, "The goatherd has done nothing wrong and he should not have to pay for a new jug. The milk vendor is equally innocent. Bailiff, go arrest the goat and the rock. A trial will be held at noon tomorrow."

Now the goat came willingly to the garden courtyard of the judge, but the rock resisted arrest. It took the bailiff and 20 strong men to bring the rock to court.

Of course, everyone in the two villages heard the news, and by noon the next day, the courtyard was filled with people. Some were even sitting on top of one of the defendants.

The judge whispered to the bailiff to close the gates, and she stood on a step to address the crowd.

"Ladies and gentlemen, surely you must know that we have no laws by which to judge a goat or a rock. So, why have you come? Did expect me to make a fool of myself? Or worse, that I should make a mockery of the laws? Shame on you for such thoughts! For your disrespect of justice you will each be fined three pennies. The bailiff will collect your fine as you leave."

Some folks grumbled; others laughed, but everyone paid, because three pennies is not much money.

After everyone had left, the bailiff counted the money.

There was enough to buy a new jug for the milk vendor and to fill it with goat's milk.

And thus, justice was served.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In which we are not home for the weekend, so please leave a message. BEEEEEEEEEP!

Jim and I are off to the annual convention of the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides this weekend.

We won't get any awards ourselves, but it's great fun to meet up with our friends and spend a whole weekend with everyone when we aren't exhausted and filthy.

Here's a YouTube video of a fabulous Speed Racking Standardbred to watch while you're waiting for us to come back with stories and pictures from Portland.

To see a really inspiring short documentary about the "richest" Standie in history breaking the world record for trotting under saddle (with famous jockey Julie Krone in the stirrups!), go here:
Part One
Part Two

Monday, January 18, 2010

In which Puzzle the Cat discovers a new toy in the living room

I just wanted to paint some ferns onto a boring wall in the living room.

And then, Puzzle showed up to assist me.

"Outta the way! Cat on the job!"

Once he was actually up on the ladder, all work stopped so that he could enjoy this gigantic new toy I had put in the living room for him.

I finally took the ladder away from him and finished the wall.With his big yellow ladder gone, Puzzle was forced to play with the dog instead. Sigh.

Yup. Life is never dull at Haiku Farm.
It's frequently really silly, though.

In which we work on reversing inevitable farm entropy

Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines entropy as a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.

Here at Haiku Farm, it's just reality: Stuff falls apart. Especially in winter.

Last night a big windstorm blew through our region, knocked the power out and blew branches all over the houses and roads. We had only a little damage, mostly just a wooden door that was torn off of the hinge installed by the former owner. Since the hinge is actually the wrong size for the door, we need to replace it completely; for now, it's just tied down securely.

Jim woke up inspired by all that activity in the air, and revved up the chainsaw for some preventative tree repair.

There is (was) an alder tree growing by our driveway. I assume it planted itself and the seedling was ignored by the former owners (they were adept at ignoring stuff) until it was no longer a seedling but was an actual tree.

The thing about trees is that they get bigger. This tree was obviously planning to get bigger in the direction of the driveway.

The thing about alder trees is that they delight in throwing branches at stuff--fences, cars, livestock...anything that people might care about. Jim got that driveway alder in his sights and *poof*.

Now it's just a bunch of firewood. Nice how it happens that way, isn't it?

After chopping down the driveway tree and a peach tree* in our orchard that was just a haven for ants, it was time to remove the entropy on the axe blades!

* yes, a peach tree.
** no, peach trees don't grow here.
*** no, I don't know what the former owners were smoking when they planted a peach tree--they didn't leave any of that growing here when they left!

While Jim was de-entropizing the upper part of the property, I toured the pasture fenceline.
The goats are doing a great job of keeping blackberry bushes and underbrush from taking over the fenceline, but one little blackberry vines tried to sneak onto the fence. I snipped it. Ha! Take that, evil weed!

There were a few spots where the electric fence wire had drooped a bit and started to short out on the field mesh. This might make bouncing off the mesh even more exciting than usual for our little goats.

I walked the pasture fence twice: the first time was with the fence charger turned ON so I could hear the snap sound that fence wire makes when it's arcing to something. Even though there were several shorts in the fence, the fence tester showed a strong charge over the entire system. With the shorts removed, the charge will deter even a goat. Most of the time.
I marked the snapping parts with bright orange surveyers' tape. Then I went back to the fencing shed and turned off the electrical charger. Fixing the electric fence when it is turned on is possible, but I'm a sissy. I'd rather walk the fenceline twice, thanks.

More entropy: the front porch had several boards that needed to be replaced.
Noise-cancelling hearing-protecting radio-enhanced headphones. Jim loves those things.
Finally: we've worked hard enough! The sun is out! Let's ride!
Blue skies and brown ears.
Life is good!